chapter  7
33 Pages

Informal Reasoning and Subject Matter Knowledge in the Solving of Economics Problems By Naive and Novice Individuals

WithJames F. Voss, Jeffrey Blais, Mary L. Means, Terry R. Greene, Ellen Ahwesh

This chapter describes learning in the domain of economics and compares the performance of naive and novice individuals with respect to both the knowledge of economics and the use of informal reasoning mechanisms. It is concerns comparison of naive and novice individuals with respect to the performance on economics–related tasks and the possible differences in the economics knowledge, as related to vocational and/or avocational experience, and, in the case of naive individuals, as related to the intellectual history. Informal reasoning maybe regards as the processes of reasoning that occur when individuals generate a nondeductive argument and/or evaluate its soundness. The resulting questionnaire focuses on three economic topics: automobile prices, the federal deficit, and interest rates. In addition to the general lack of performance differences between the college–educated naive and the novices, another knowledge–related finding requiring consideration is the sharp difference between the performances of the college–educated and noncollege–educated naive.